Newbies: Six teams are in the second round for the first time. They are Alcovy, Athens Christian, Haralson County, Kennesaw Mountain, Lithia Springs and Luella. Those ending long droughts are Columbia (last appearance 1997), Villa Rica (1998) and Shiloh (2000).
Gone already: Colquitt County’s streak of first-round victories ended at 12 last week when Walton beat the Packers. Others notably absent are Greater Atlanta Christian (last miss was 2011), Coffee (2013), Clinch County (2014) and Rome (2014).
Best second-round game: Fourth-ranked Warner Robins is at No. 1 Cartersville in a rematch of the 2020 title game that Warner Robins won 62-28. Cartersville is 59-5 over the past five seasons. Warner Robins is 62-8.
Other gems: Fourteen other games match top-10 teams. Among them are No. 8 Marietta at No. 3 Milton in Class 7A, No. 9 Blessed Trinity at No. 2 Woodward Academy and No. 5 Creekside at No. 8 St. Pius in 5A, and No. 7 and defending champion Callaway at No. 3 Bleckley County in 3A,
What’s next: Thanksgiving week will usher in the quarterfinals, the first time that region champions can face off. If higher seeds win in the second round, the elite eight will render No. 1 Collins Hill at No. 5 Lowndes in Class 7A, No. 1 Buford at No. 2 Lee County in 6A, No. 1 Marist at No. 2 Benedictine in 4A and No. 1 Monroe Area at defending champion Pierce County in 3A.